Justice For Women

In the Church. In the World.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Women Crucified

O God,
through the image of a woman crucified on the cross
I understand at last.

BustedHalo just released "The Contemporary Christa" by Donna Freitas, exploring the controversial image of Madonna crucified on stage:
If you managed to avoid the controversy last summer and fall, the centerpiece of Madonna’s summer Confessions Tour was a crucifixion scene. Each night an enormous, mirrored cross rose up from the performance stage to reveal Madonna wearing a bright crimson blouse and long black skirt, a crown of thorns resting on her head. With her arms outstretched, she sang the somber ballad “Live to Tell” (reportedly written about her experiences of domestic abuse while married to Sean Penn), while images of African children suffering from AIDS flashed in the background.

It didn’t go over well.

What more approprate image than the slow, painful death of crucifiction to represent the slow emotional and physical death caused by domestic violence?

Freitas goes on to detail the contoversy surrounding not only Madonna on the cross, but the imaging of God or Christ as a woman. But, as Freitas notes, if we are all in the image of God/Christ, can we not be images of God or Christ in the world?
It’s not that I’m not aware of Madonna’s past and her infamous ability to shock and scandalize especially when it comes to all things religious—it’s that in this case, I don’t think it’s relevant. In She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, Elizabeth A. Johnson argues that “the Christological symbol of God’s active suffering in Christ [is] a historically inclusive one, encompassing the suffering lives of women and men of all ages.” In other words, the possible portrayals of the divine are not only endless but endlessly diverse. For as Johnson argues, women are “imago Dei, imago Christi, daughters of Wisdom.”

If we are all imago Christi, then why not Madonna too?

Freitas' article brought to mind two other images of women crucified. The first being "In the Name of God," a life-size statue of a pregnant teen girl on the cross, representing victims of the Catholic Church's official policy on condoms as a means of AIDS prevention. This image stirred up controversy of its own, along with cries of blasphemy.

The next image that came to mind is of a woman crucified on a uterus posted in a blog on Rock for Life. Respondents to the blog call it "disgusting," a "mockery of Christ's crucifiction," etc.

What I find most interesting about the responses to all of these images is a revulsion towards equating women's bodies with the sacred, and a fear of women's sexuality, along with really examining or dealing with the issues attached (such as sex, abortion, birth control, and violence against women).

I have known you as a vulnerable baby,
as a brother, as a father.
Now I know you as a woman.

As women's lives are seen as disposable, women are crucified every day. These images, tragically, reflect that reality. Ignoring that fact will not make it go away.

(Italicized portions from an untitled prayer in Soul Weavings: a gathering of women's prayers edited by Lyn Klug)

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Vatican Statement at the Comission on the Status of Women

Apparently, I'm on fire today. :)

Check out the Vatican's statment to the 51st session of the Comission on the Status of Women at the UN, with especially strong language regarding human trafficking.

Spotted as I'm out the door to this event.

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NYT: No Comfort

The New York Times released an editorial today, calling Japanese Prime MInister Shinzo Abe to the mat for claiming that there was no evidence that victims of the World War II "comfort women" system were coerced.

V-Day 2006's spotlight was Justice to "Comfort Women", and I had the pleasure of seeing my alma mater bring to life the monologue written by Eve Enser for the women, "Say It" (which I can't seem to find online, now that I'm out of the organizer phase).


Women Healing From Abuse

Nicole Sotelo, author and activist, has a blog to accompany her book, Women Healing From Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace! Go buy her book (if you haven't already)!

You can also join Nicole for a retreat at Evensong Retreat Center, Harwichport, MA, March 23-25.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Using International Law to Protect Battered Women

On March 2, Jessica Lenahan became the first U.S. domestic violence survivor to bring her case before an international human rights body.

Lenahan has exhausted all her legal options in the United States, inlcuding the Supreme Court, in her quest for justice against a Colorado police department that did not properly enforce her protection order. Lenahan and her attorney, Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, are taking her case to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The article also highlights another D.V. related case that may go before the commission.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Check it out: A Traveling Theologian

While I recover having my wisdom teeth remove, feed on the wisdom of regular commenter Bex, at her new blog A Traveling Theologian. Here's a teaser:
But that doesn't make it any less painful to hear your gender ignored in liturgy. And it's also ironic that the only time that the word "man" means "adult males" and not "all human persons" in Catholic doctrine is when it refers to the priesthood. Then, and only then, are women supposed to recognize that they are not included, but we are to assume our inclusion in every other use of the term "man." Ironic, huh?

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Help Stop the Next War Now!

Join CodePink in speaking out prevent war with Iran on International Women's Day!